Numbers have strange ways of enforcing their own logic. Columnist Bill O’Reilly commented on Tuesday, July 26th that the slaves who built the White House were “well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” His comments were a response to Michelle Obama’s reference to the fact that she lives in the White House which was constructed by slaves.
O’Reilly’s comment has peculiar resonance with the the Iran hostage crisis that lasted from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981 was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States. This event caused 52 American diplomats and citizens to be held hostage for 444 days. The failure to achieve their release has been cited by some analysts as one of the main reasons for a resident of the White House to be evicted—one President Jimmy Carter. The feeling was that Americans had lost faith in their leader to free citizens.
Interestingly enough, in December 2015, a bill was passed in Congress allowing each former hostage to receive up to 4,400,000 dollars in compensation for their unlawful imprisonment.
Notice the symmetry of the fours—444 days, 4.400,000 dollars. And guess what? Michelle Obama’s husband is the 44th President of the U.S.
No one has ever documented that the hostages were not reasonably well fed and lodged. But Americans tied ribbons around trees awaiting the return of their brethren and many newscasts reported the number of days with each broadcast of the amount of time the hostages were still captive.
President Obama made some strident iterations in his speech on Wednesday before the Democratic National Convention—immigrants did not come to this country to be taken care of—they came to build lives to enable them to care for themselves and future generations. A person behind walls who cannot go home at night with his or her own economic resources cannot do this.
Cries for reparations for black American slavery have continually been ignored. They may continue to be. But there is no room for the ignorance that sees captivity and involuntary servitude as a minor inconvenience. 4 now let us remember the price these slaves paid.